Tuesday poem: Limits

October 26, 2021

Limits


‘Nature cannot be regarded as something separate from ourselves or as a mere setting in which we live.’ 
Pope Francis


Four months ago the trees looked like trees
drawn in charcoal by a depressed artist —
simple strokes of black connecting earth
to noon-time grey, throat-choking, skies.
Now, watch the festoons of green
circling the trunks, as if strewn
by the world’s worst exterior decorator.
Such vivid newness, almost artificial
in its neon promise.  And yet,

such trees have known blazes many years,
lightning-spat, or most carefully set,
by those who shaped the land, 
farmed with fire, forty thousand years or more.
We comfort ourselves, forget that this mega-blaze,
man-made, was the very opposite of skill.
We have changed the seasons, charged
the air, dried the possibilities of rain
into a parched riverbed of loss.

Yes, the trees still push out leaves.
Frail canopy above dead mounds of wombat,
of lyre-bird-less, song-lost, ground.
The reassurance of regeneration
this time asks us how many more
times green can possibly appear.
If next year, and the next, another
blaze exceeds all history,
will even gumtrees stay gloomed —

dead sticks we poked into a lessened land?

PS Cottier


Everyone is pleased to see the bush regenerating after a fire, but how many times can it do so after the mega fires that climate change brings?

The chicken in autumn

No spring chicken, she fluffs up her hair.
Neck is turkeying, becoming its own scarf
of bumpy, gobbling skin.  She pushes at the strange,
frill neck, loose Elizabethan collar, gravity's triumph,
and remembers, stroking, the departed flesh of spring.

Pink buds looked upwards, as if watching clouds,
Her body watered itself, moistly rippled,
Holding itself tightly in an embrace
assumed to be everlasting, but like any flower
wind caressed too hard, and the petals fell. 

Autumn, they say, is fruitful, mellow, wiser,
tasting winter on the air, beyond mere promise
of that which can not last, of fairies or of flowers.
A graceful pause, equilibrium.  But falls of leaves
speak of falls of snow, of skin, of flesh, of life.

But still leaves may be kicked upwards, fluttering,
rudely resurrected out of  dignified piles, 
decorum shed like a lizard's skin, unwanted.
Half of life has been spent, but the legs still swing,
lovingly, the lungs embrace air.  The tough bird sings.

PS Cottier

That’s a very old poem, published in my first book, The Glass Violin, in 2008. It’s becoming more relevant every year! You know you’re getting a bit older when you forget the dates that you got various degrees, which is the over-educated version of where did I put my keys? Rereading the poem now, there are more flower images than I’d probably use now, but I quite like it.

Tuesday poem: If I could

September 20, 2021

If I could

I would infiltrate this page
with seeds, which would sprout
as you read down the few lines,
and leave you with a bush
which you would plant out
and wait for the blessings of birds.

PS Cottier

Aliens

September 13, 2021

Just had a poem published at Burrow, an on-line journal published by Old Water Rat Publishing, edited by Jillian Hall and Phillip Hall. It’s called The peculiar comfort of aliens, which was my response to the topic, non-human companions. I also put it one about a dog, but unsurprisingly, the submissions would have rained cats and dogs. Do have a look around the poems, it is a great collection.

Corrêa, Henrique Alvim

Speaking of aliens, you can read some great short science fiction stories at AntipodeanSF, where I also have a scifaiku about nasty things that can happen in space. I’ll be having one there every month for a while. This publication, which has been around for a very long time indeed, is edited by Ion Newcombe.

A nasty nursery rhyme

August 3, 2021

Diddle diddle cumquat
gnomes on the porch
eating all the fairies
with a golden fork

See thirteen budgies
aviary all full?
screaming at a guinea pig
red flag to wee bull

Poets are itching
itching with an itch
one is a rhymer
one is not so rich

Gnomes are coming
cumquat diddle dum
hungry for eyeballs
now they’ll have some fun!

PS Cottier

I seem to be writing a lot of fantasy lately, probably as an escape from the exigencies of editing. Just had another very little thing published at the venerable AntipodeanSF. A scifaiku, the first of a few to come.